Explainer: University Elections
(Translated by Jolien Vermeulen)
Once again, it is time for the university elections. Nobody really seems to care, but after reading this article you will probably feel differently. Brief explanation coming up! Like every year, students are drowning in flyers, posters and countless emails about this one election. What it is about exactly remains an unanswered question, and the RUG website is not in any way enlightening either. De Groninger Studentenkrantis here for you, and does what the University could not do; provide you with an explanation about these university elections.
Until the 25th of May RUG students and staff can vote for the representative of two university bodies; the university council (universiteitsraad orU-raad) and the faculty council (faculteitsraad). Both consist of 50% students and 50% individual members of the RUG. These two halves are both elected by those they represent.
What is the influence of the U-raad?
To answer this question, you first need to know that the men (there is not a single woman) in het College van Bestuur(CvB) make the important decisions. The U-raad, that consists of three student faction members, –Lijst Calimero, SOG and Lijst STERK– can influence decisions of theCvBin three ways. The first one, which also happens to be the most important one, is called initiative right (initiatiefrecht). This means that the parties in the U-raadcan bring forth their own ideas to the board (CvB). Secondly, the CvBneeds to be accountable to the U-raadfor their decisions. Most of these decisions cannot be reversed by the U-raad. What they can do, is come up with ideas, resulting in plans that fit the wishes of students more. For example, making cheap coffee available in the University Library after the instalation of a Starbucks, as decided by the CvB. Although these two aspects mentioned above have no direct influence, the CvBis not one to ignore suggestions. In this political game of the university it is important for them to remain friendly with the student delegation. With the right of consent the U-raaddoes have direct influence, for example on the budget. When the U-raaddoes not agree with this, it will certainly not be realized. The CvBthen needs to reconsider their ideas.
Besides theU-raadyou can also vote for various faculty councils. Logically, you can only vote for parties in your own faculty. The faculty councils mostly consider aspects, such as exam regulations and the budget. They influence the faculty board by the advice- agreement- and information right. The faculty councils and the U-raadcollaborate in finding and solving problems:
A faculty council believed student-assistants to be lacking didactic skills. The U-raadpicked this up and discovered that it was a problem known by other faculties as well. The U-raad made the problem known to the CvB, who in turn decided to develop a course in didactic skills.